Euglena International Network (EIN) Inaugural Meeting November 2020 – virtual

Theme: Unlocking Euglena potential through integrative omics

Venue: This is a virtual meeting to be hosted from the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), Hinxton near Cambridge, UK. A trip to EMBL-EBI may be possible if COVID-19 lockdown is lifted as well as compliance with social distancing guidelines in November, 2020. Only 16 slots available for onsite participations, and unlimited slots for virtual participations.
Date: 9th – 10th November, 2020 (day 1 and day 2)
Time: 15:00 – 18:00 (GMT) each day

Meeting records: Find meeting record here.

Co-Chairs: Mark Field, Anna Karnkowska, Neil Hall
Organisers: ThankGod Ebenezer, Ellis O’Neill, Ross Low, Wade Huang | Contact us to register your interest for virtual participation | click to register for onsite participation.

Grand Challenges: Basic Biology, Translation and Exploitation, Evolution, Ecology and Environment | click to nominate Euglenid species for genome sequencing.

Click to submit Abstract for 5 mins Flash Presentation at the EIN inaugural meeting. Click to view EIN inaugural meeting program booklet.


Summary of expected dialogue: Anti-cancer properties, renewable jet and diesel fuels, food and nutraceuticals, human space explorations, ecology and environment, taxonomy, nuclear genome, carbohydrate metabolism, organellar genomes, Sanger ToL.

EIN inaugural meeting agenda | Number of confirmed participants: 85+

Time (GMT)
Name, affiliation, and sub-theme
9th November, 2020 – Day 1
15:00 – 15:05ThankGod Ebenezer
Bioinformatician, European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), UK.
Opening remarks: About the Euglena International Network (EIN)
ThankGod Ebenezer | Earlham Institute
Current understanding on Euglena across the globe & future directions
Session 1: Basic BiologyChair, Neil Hall
15:05 – 15:15Harris Lewin
Founder & Chair, Earth BioGenome Project (EBP), UC Davis, USA.
Sub-theme: The Earth BioGenome Project: Progress and Perspectives (click for abstract)
15:15 – 15:25Anna Karnkowska 
Group Leader, University of Warsaw, Poland.
Sub-theme: Euglenophyta classification, taxonomy, ecological and evolutionary diversity (click for abstract)
Anna KARNKOWSKA | PhD | University of Warsaw, Warsaw | UW ...
15:25 – 15:30Flash presentation 1
15:30 – 15:35Flash presentation 2
15:35-15:45Michael Lebert
Professor, Friedrich-Alexander-University, Germany.
Sub-theme: Euglena in human space explorations – phototaxis and gravitates (click for abstract)
15:45 – 15:55Mark C. Field
Professor, University of Dundee, UK.
Sub-theme: Nuclear genome, Euglena multi-omics sequencing – what we learned? (click for abstract)
Coffee break – 15:55 – 16:05
Session 2: Basic Biology, Evolution, Ecology and Environment Chair, Anna Karnkowska
16:05 – 16:15Takahiro Ishikawa
Professor, Shimane University, Japan.
Sub-theme: Biochemistry and physiology of Euglena (click for abstract).
Outline of each theme and scholar:Creation of Basic Technology for ...
16:15 – 16:25Sergio A. Guerrero
Inv. Principal – Prof. Asociado
Instituto de Agrobiotecnologia del Litoral, Argentina.
Sub-theme: Carbohydrate metabolism (click for abstract).
Profile picture
16:25 – 16:35Steven Schwartzbach
Professor, University of Memphis, USA.
Sub-theme: Plastid genome (click for abstract).
Steven D. Schwartzbach
16:35 – 16:40Flash presentation 3
16:40 – 16:45Flash presentation 4
16:45 – 16:55Michael Hammond
Postdoc, Biology Centre CAS, Czech Republic.
Sub-theme: Mitochondrial genome and evolution (click for abstract).
16:55 – 17:05Jiangxin Wang
Professor, Shenzhen University, China.
Sub-theme: Toxicity, genetics, and ecological remediation (click for abstract).
Coffee break – 17:05 – 17:15
Session 3: Sequencing and Partnership Framework Chair, Lucia Tomeckova
17:15 – 17:25Neil Hall
Director, Earlham Institute, UK.
Sub-theme: Ongoing sequencing efforts, biological dark matter in the Euglena world (click for abstract).
17:25 – 17:35Mark Blaxter
Programme Lead, Sanger Institute Tree of Life Programme, UK.
Sub-theme: The Tree of Life Programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute (click for abstract)
17:35 – 15:40Flash presentation 5
17:45 – 17:50Flash presentation 6
17:50 – 18:00Nishadi De Silva
Microorganisms Project Lead, European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), UK.
Sub-theme: The Ensembl Protists browser at the EMBL-EBI (click for abstract)
Nishadi De Silva
10th November, 2020 – Day 2
Session 4: Translation and ExploitationChair, Kristína Záhonová
15:00 – 15:10Robert Field
Director, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, University of Manchester, UK.
Sub-theme: Carbohydrate metabolism (click for abstract)
15:10 – 15:20Paul Zimba
Director of the Center for Coastal Studies, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, USA
Sub-theme: The anti-carcinogenic properties of Euglena – case studies (click for abstract)
15:20 – 15:30Scott Farrow
Director of Biological Discovery, Noblegen Inc., Canada.
Sub-theme: Euglena in nutraceuticals (click for abstract)
15:30 – 15:40Kengo Suzuki
Director, Research & Development, Euglena Co. Ltd., Japan.
Sub-theme: Euglena in renewable jet and diesel fuels (click for abstract)
Coffee break – 15:40 – 15:50
Session 5: Grand Challenges (GC) and future directions.*Chair, Mark C. Field
15:50 – 16:20Basic Biology
Surfaceome, mechanisms of gene expression, etc.
GC Champions: Eric Linton, Central Michigan University, USA; Michael Ginger, University of Huddersfield, UK; Peter Myler, University of Washington, USA.
16:20 – 16:50Evolution
Endosymbiosis (plastid and mitochondria), parasitism, etc.
GC Champions: Vladimir Hampl, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic; Hammond Michael
Postdoc, Biology Centre CAS, Czech Republic.

Coffee break – 16:50 – 16:55
16:55 – 17:25Ecology and Environment
Remediation and clean up, ecological diversity, etc.
GC Champions: Jiangxi Wang, Shenzhen University, China; Kevin Tyler, University of East Anglia, UK; Wade Huang, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, USA.
17:25 – 17:55Translation and Exploitation
Anti-cancer, transfection, renewable fuels, nutraceuticals, scale-up production, etc.
GC Champions: Geoff Horst, Kemin Industries, USA; Scott Farrow, Noblegen Inc., Canada; Paul Zimba, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, USA.
17:55 – 18:00Summary of grand challenges discussed and wrap up
Ellis O’Neil, Group Leader, University of Nottingham, UK.
Ross Low
Postdoc, Earlham Institute, UK.
Sub-theme: Highlight next step/s
Ellis O'NEILL | MA, PhD | Fellow | University of Nottingham ...

*Specific discussion of Euglena grand challenges (working groups). Questions, goals, objectives, milestones, and fundings.

**General discussion points during EIN kickoff meeting

  • Sequence select Euglenoid species. 
    • Where do we start from? Should we focus on the genus level or attempt to focus on the class / order levels so as to have representative species from each class / order? Should we rank species to sequence? Phototrophic, heterotrophic taxa, or both? Given the complexity of the Euglena genome, should we begin sequencing based on controlled laboratory conditions or using environmental samples?
    • Technology development; transfection.
    • ‘Omics resources – good quality annotation. Enthusiasm, etc. RNA-Seq and the proteome datasets. Who wants this? Should we make these available? 
    • What are the questions? Basic biology, evolutionary states? Biofuel and metabolism? What do we need in order to do anything here? These are what becomes fundable.
    • Agree on funding mechanisms to deliver on the goals. Who are the potential funders?
  • Who are our potential partners, and what should be a proposed partnership model?
  • Who will take various thematic areas up? Who are the investigators responsible to meet these goals? Including grant writing, submission, and execution of research proposals?
  • Provide a networking platform for the Euglena global community through international conferences
  • Advance the global knowledge on Euglena science through knowledge exchange programmes.
  • Achieve the above goals in collaboration and partnership with other initiatives e.g. Darwin Tree of Life (DToL) and the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP)


  1. Sequence select Euglenoid species to better understand their diversity and unlock their biotechnological potential.
  2. Provide a networking platform for the Euglena global community through the organisation of Euglena international conferences
  3. Advance the global knowledge on Euglena science through knowledge exchange programmes with the industry.
  4. Achieve the above goals in collaboration and partnership with other initiatives e.g. Darwin Tree of Life (DToL) and the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP)

Concept note


The Euglenoids were first identified by Antony van Leeuwenhoek in 1674 (Dobell, 1932). Since its identification, efforts have been underway to understand it’s biology and translational applications using genomic and non-genomic approaches. In the 1960s and 1980s and 1990s early works in Euglena were sufficiently documented (Buetow, 1968, 1968a, 1968b, 1982, 1989, Triemer and Farmer 1991). Over the last two decades there have been a growing list of communities within the Euglena science aiming to uncover several aspects of the biology of Euglena as well as its biotechnological applications (for instance, Linton et al. 2007, O’Neill, et al., 2015, Dobakova, et al., 2015, Yoshida, et al., 2016, eds Schwartzbach and Shigeoka, 2017, Ebenezer, et al., 2019). As the Euglena global community continues to grow, so is the need to bring the Euglena community together to better understand Euglena biology and harness it’s biotechnological potential. 

Aims and objectives

The Euglena International Network (EIN) aims to galvanise the Euglena global community and provide a collaborative interface. EIN’s approach will be via the following stages: Assemble, identify, engage, implement, and update advances in Euglena science. EIN is currently aiming for a one-day inauguration event, which is the first phase; this event will help to assemble, identify, and engage with the Euglena global scientific community. The second phase, which will consist of the implementation and update stages, are expected to be fall-outs from the inauguration event. Therefore, the aims and objectives of EIN are to:

  • Assemble, for the first time, international investigators working on Euglena. Create a collaborative platform for researchers, academics, and industry professionals working on Euglena globally, and introduce EIN to the international scientific community.
  • Identify and form a committee who will be tasked with providing Consortium partnership models and deliverables. Drive the formation of the Euglena Genome Consortium (EGC) to sequence select Euglenoid species in collaboration with other projects such as the Earth BioGenome Project, Wellcome Sanger Tree of Life Project, UK Darwin Tree of Life, etc. Facilitate a ranked list of species, designate sequencing priorities, and ensure provision of complete reference Euglena sequenced genomes. 
  • Engage the conversation for knowledge exchange between industry professionals (food, environment, energy and health) and academics working on Euglena globally. Identify and form committees who will be tasked with providing knowledge exchange and industry partnership models and scientific deliverables. This will lead us to the Implementation stage.
  • Engage the conversation for annual or biennial Euglena conferences. Identify and form committees who will be tasked with organising the Euglena Conference. This will lead us to the Update stage.
  • Implement recommendations and outcomes from the EIN inauguration event; one of which will be the formation of EGC (please see above).
  • Update Euglena scientific community on advances in Euglena science through the organisation and hosting of conferences and knowledge exchange programmes with the industry (please see above).


Currently, we’ve grouped the activities of the EIN into three categories with their corresponding questions:

Euglenoid Genome Project

  • What are the genomic structures within, and across, all Euglena species? What do we know about the genome diversity amongst Euglenoids? What are their genome sizes and variabilities and how does this correlates with biological complexity?
  • What are the biological functions of these genomic structures, diversity, as well as the full genic and nongenic compliments?
  • How do Euglena genomes compare with other eukaryotes, and what does this tell us about the evolution of eukaryotes, evolution of parasitism, and secondary endosymbiosis involving the cyanobacteria and proteobacteria? What can this tell us about the evolution of plastid and mitochondria genomes in Euglena and how can this be inferred to other eukaryotes?
  • What are the influence of ecological factors within, and across, Euglena biological molecules?
  • How can we harness and unlock the potential of Euglena science in translational efforts? What role can this play in genetic engineering and synthetic biology? 

Euglenoid International Conference

  • Where are other Euglena investigators around the world? What are their research interests? How do we continuously bring this community together once in a year or every other year?
  • What is the current understanding of the global Euglena science?
  • How can the Euglena community help to train the next generation of Euglena investigators, researchers, and professionals?

Knowledge Exchange and Industry

  • How do we deepen the global scientific understanding in the application of Euglena in solving some of the world’s problems in food security, environmental management, bioenergy, and drug discovery such as in anti-carcinogens, anti-parasitics, or ecological clean ups?
  • How can the industry, academia, and research institutes work together to better unlock the biological potential of Euglena? 
  • How can Euglena science help drive government policy framework through private-public partnerships? What role can EIN play in helping to make this happen?

Affiliations of current EIN members

Interactive map showing geographical and institutional institutional affiliations of current EIN members.

We have received direct support from the below organisations:

  • EMBL-EBI – free venue and video conferencing onsite facility.
  • FAU (Michael Lebert) – sponsorship for zoom subscriptions to accommodate at least 100 participants if onsite participation is not possible in November 2020.

%d bloggers like this: